This week, we are featuring Marlene (@marlenejaxon)! Marlene was the caregiver to her mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She has such a positive approach to caregiving and uses humor to laugh through the hard times. Marlene has recently released a book called “Jinxed!: Laughing the Face of Alzheimer’s” about her journey of caring for her mother. Go check it out! We hope you enjoy this week’s interview as much as we did!
Follow Marlene on Instagram and Facebook at @marlenejaxon.
What is the best part of caregiving?
“Without a doubt, making my mother laugh was the highlight of being her caregiver. As her Alzheimer’s progressed, she took on a childlike sense of wonder. She lived her life in a series of moments, and it became my daily goal to make these moments as enjoyable for her as possible, even if they were not memorable.”
What is the hardest part of caregiving?
“The hardest part of caregiving was watching my mother, the woman I know and love, slowly slip away. I never knew when another part of her would succumb to the cruel disease.”
What skills are you most proud of gaining since you started caregiving?
“Taking care of my mother with Alzheimer’s Disease taught me how to fully live in the moment and be spontaneous.”
What is a favorite memory you have taking care of your aging loved one?
“My favorite memory of my mother, while I was her caretaker, was when the whole family took her to Disneyland for her 85th birthday. My mother, Jinx, was succumbing to Alzheimer’s quickly, and the family wanted to enjoy her company as much as possible, while we were still able to. With that said, we decided to take her to the happiest place we could think of, Disneyland. She was pushed around in her royal carriage (wheelchair) and was referred to as, “Princess Jinx” by her loyal subjects (the park’s cast members). Her Royal Highness was enchanted by every moment, and we will never forget seeing the park through her childlike eyes.”
What do you like to do for self-care?
“I was lucky enough to have a sailboat I could visit every six weeks for a full reprieve. Day-to-day though, I would make sure to take at least an hour a day to focus on myself and recharge. I also exercised regularly and ate right every day, so I was in the best state to care for my mother.”
How do you make caregiving fun?
“It was impossible not to have fun with my mother on a regular basis, since one of my biggest goals was to make her final years as enjoyable as possible. I found using humor to be one of my biggest assets, both as a way to work with my mom and as a way to keep my own spirits elevated.”
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Marlene!